Food Service & Agriculture, Human Resources, and Manufacturing

Cereal maker downsizing plant workforce

December 15, 2016
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Post Honeycomb cereal bowl
The Honeycomb cereal brand by Post was founded in 1965. Photo via

A cereal plant in the region is planning to downsize its staff as part of a production shift.

Post Consumer Brands — which makes products such as Honeycomb, Honey Bunches of Oats and Grape Nuts and is a division of St. Louis-based Post Holdings — said this week it “intends to shift some of its current cereal production volume to other facilities in its production network.”

The shift in production, expected to take place through 2017, will result in the elimination of “some positions” at the company’s Battle Creek operation, at 275 Cliff St., which employs 569 people. Specific numbers were not provided.

The company said it believes a “substantial number” of the position reductions will be accomplished through retirements, normal turnover and eliminating new hires.

The company is bargaining with Local Union 374 of the United Cereal, Bakery and Food Workers of the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union in an effort to mitigate the impact of the production shift.

“Our goal is to bring our staffing levels in line with the production we anticipate, but to do it with the least possible impact on employees,” said Dave McBeain, SVP of operations, Post Consumer Brands. “That means eliminating new hires and using retirement and normal turnover to cover as many position reductions as possible.”

He noted the Battle Creek facility has a strong workforce that is “overachieving on nearly every goal we track.”

Post believes the production changes will yield significant annual cost savings that can be re-invested in the business.

McBeain said one of Post’s “strongest assets” is its national network of production facilities and distribution centers.

“Optimizing our production across the network rather than on a facility-by-facility basis puts that advantage to work for us — in terms of lowering our delivered costs and for our customers in terms of better service, faster deliveries and greater flexibility to respond to changes in consumer tastes, new products and categories and a very competitive industry landscape,” McBeain said.

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